The Perfection of Wisdom in Eight Thousand Verses (Ashtasahasrika Prajnaparamita Sutra)
Tibet, possibly Dolpo region
15th century
360 folios of white paper with faint red borders; script written in black brush; 4 illuminations
23 x 68 x 12.5 cm (9 x 26 ¾ x 5 in)

Books of Wisdom - Eleven Rare and Complete Tibetan Buddhist Manuscripts from the McCarthy Collection, Rossi & Rossi, Hong Kong (25 November 2017-27 January 2018)

Tibetan Manuscripts, Sam Fogg, London (29 October–20 November 2009)


This manuscript, The Perfection of Wisdom in Eight Thousand Verses (Ashtasahasrika Prajnaparamita Sutra), is in very good condition – written in black and red on fine, cream-coloured paper. The first leaf is illustrated with an image of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni seated on a stylised lion throne, which is flanked by his monk disciples Sariputra and Maudgalyayana, along with Amitabha, who is also seated on a lion throne, flanked by bodhisattvas Padmapani and Vajrapani. The last leaf is illustrated with an image of four-armed Avalokiteshvara (Chenrezig) holding a rosary and a lotus. In the colophon below, he is described as the tantric deity Mahakarunika, ‘the great compassionate one’. Also illustrated is Green Tara, who represents the enlightened activity of Avalokiteshvara.

The first leaf is reinforced with six additional leaves for strength, and contains the manuscript’s library tag on silk cloth, which would have identified the text in the manuscript’s original setting: a monastic library. The manuscript closes with a long colophon explaining how the sutra was originally translated from Sanskrit into Tibetan in the eighth century, and later revised in the eleventh century.